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Informal Labor, Formal Politics & Dignified Discontent in India (Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics)

Agarwala, Rina

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ISBN 10: 1107663083 / ISBN 13: 9781107663084
Published by Cambridge University Press, c.2013,, 2013
Used Condition: Very Good, Soft cover
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Cambridge University Press, c.2013, paperbk.prtg., 250pp., NF $. Bookseller Inventory # 80135

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Title: Informal Labor, Formal Politics & Dignified ...

Publisher: Cambridge University Press, c.2013,

Publication Date: 2013

Binding: paperback,

Book Condition:Very Good,

About this title


Since the 1980s, the world's governments have decreased state welfare and thus increased the number of unprotected "informal" or "precarious" workers. As a result, more and more workers do not receive secure wages or benefits from either employers or the state. What are these workers doing to improve their livelihoods? Informal Labor, Formal Politics, and Dignified Discontent in India offers a fresh and provocative look into the alternative social movements informal workers in India are launching. It also offers a unique analysis of the conditions under which these movements succeed or fail. Drawing from 300 interviews with informal workers, government officials, and union leaders, Rina Agarwala argues that Indian informal workers are using their power as voters to demand welfare benefits (such as education, housing, and healthcare) from the state, rather than demanding traditional work benefits (such as minimum wages and job security) from employers. In addition, they are organizing at the neighborhood level, rather than the shop floor, and appealing to "citizenship," rather than labor rights. Agarwala concludes that movements are most successful when operating under parties that compete for mass votes and support economic liberalization (even populist parties), and are least successful when operating under non-competitive electoral contexts (even those tied to communist parties).

Book Description:

This book examines the growing group of "informal" or "precarious" workers who are unregulated and have no labor rights. Rina Agarwala investigates how these vulnerable workers are organizing to improve their livelihoods in India. Drawing on 300 personal interviews with women workers in construction and tobacco, she finds - contrary to the existing literature - that these workers are launching an innovative movement to assert their rights.

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